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It's "Holland" in cricket[edit]

In the sport of cricket, the Dutch team refers to itself as "Holland". Here is a picture of a Dutch player at the 2005 ICC Trophy competition, showing clearly the team name on his shirt. [1] I suppose this is similar to the fact that Welsh cricketers play for England. (Also mentioned on Talk:Netherlands.)

Note that Nederland has a full three syllables.--MWAK 15:31, 22 January 2006 (UTC)
Dutch football audiences show shawls with the text Holland on it, but when the country names are shown on television Netherlands is the name, which is official and correct.-- 12:23, 16 June 2006 (UTC)

Colonies of Holland[edit]

I'm removing this as it should be in the Netherlands article not the Holland article. Arthur Holland 08:04, 15 April 2006 (UTC)

I agree. It actually is a copy of a paragraph in the Netherlands article, and that is the proper location. -- Eugene van der Pijll 09:59, 15 April 2006 (UTC)

the Netherlands or Holland?[edit]

Hello, I am coming from Czechia (Czech Republic), in Dutch language it means Tsjechië or Tsjechische Republiek. Many Czechs call our country simply Čechy, however this name covers only the historical land Bohemia and not the whole Czechia. Nearly all Czechs call the Netherlands/Nederland simply Holandsko = Holland, but the correct name would be Nizozemsko or Nizozemí = Nederland.

As a Dutchman living in the province of Noord-Brabant I personally find it rather insulting (misrecognizing the fact that ten of the twelve provinces do not belong to the region properly called Holland) if someone uses Holland to refer to the Netherlands. I always use the Netherlands when I refer to my country in English, but most Dutch people are uncomfortable with using articles in front of country names. That's why Dutchmen use Holland for the Netherlands in English. The Dutch people not being used to use articles in front of country names also leads to pars pro toto mistakes in Dutch such as Engeland for het Verenigd Koninkrijk, which would insult Scots and Welshmen gravely. These mistakes happen constantly on a daily basis (with myself not taking part in this mistake, though I am sometimes tempted to use Groot-Brittannië (without article) instead). Using Holland for the Netherlands and England for the United Kingdom is just a sloppy use of language. It isn't wrong per se but it is certainly not stylish, tidy or correct. It is recommended to use language in a way which insults the least people; that's called etiquette. I don't feel hatred or contempt towards Holland (the two provinces I mean) (I don't speak the Brabantian dialect and even consider a large part of the Brabantian population to be too provincial), but using Holland for the Netherlands is a testimony of ignorance in the broadest sense of the word. A lot of elderly people in Brabant and Limburg would be seriously distraught if you use Holland instead of Netherlands: to them Holland means exploitation and (religious) repression conducted by Protestants against Catholics (a majority in the southern part of the Netherlands). I wouldn't use England for the UK, knowing that I would offend Scottish and Welsh people. I even don't use Great Britain to refer to the UK, knowing that most British people (including English) say for example "In the UK..." It is rather sad that English language speakers and Dutchmen alike make these minor though potentially awkward mistakes. -- 12:23, 16 June 2006 (UTC)
The simple fact is that many people do use "Holland" for "the Netherlands", whether you like it or not. (Ever heard the "Hup Holland Hup" at a soccer game of the national team?) Your personal feelings ("rather insulting"; "not stylish", "a testimony of ignorance") are totally irrelevant. Skarioffszky 19:24, 1 January 2007 (UTC)
How is it ignorant to stand up for the truth? With people like you people would still think the earth is flat..

I talked to a guy from Holland. He call it Holland not Netherlands. My self I'm from Denmark, and nothing is called Netherlands or something related to that. The name of the country in Danish is Holland the same with Norwegian and Swedish. I have always thought that its only in English its called Netherlands. --Arigato1 19:33, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

Sorry, that's not true. In the Netherlands we call our own country 'Nederland' and in English we use both 'Holland' and 'The Netherlands'. I'm quite sure, however, that in the region I live (Frisia) people use seldom 'Holland' in English, but choose 'The Netherlands' instead. This is because Frisian 'Hollanner' is an insult and means something like 'kakker' in Dutch (don't know the exact English word). 'Hollanner' means something like the opposite of insultive 'boer', 'farmer'. Holland is seen as the provinces Norht- and South-Holland and sometimes also including the province of Utrecht.- 15:33, 20 July 2007 (UTC)
Arigatol, I'm a Dutchman living in Denmark and can say you are totally wrong, when you write that "nothing is called Netherlands or something related to that" in Danish. There is in fact the Danish word "Nederlandene" that is even mentioned in the Danish wikipedia article. It's true that Danish media and publishers are extremely sloppy when it come to using "Nederlandene", but less so politicians and academics. In Norway it is a whole lot more prevalent to use the Norwegian term "Nederland" to refer to the country as opposed to what you just claimed. Norwegians are thus being a whole lot more sensitive and correct than the Danes. The same in Swedish, where they use the word "Nederländarna". Please get your facts straight, Arigatol! Fedor (talk) 20:16, 27 December 2014 (UTC)

A few centuries ago the current Netherlands formed a republic with Belgium and Luxembourg. After Belgium and the current Netherlands split up we started calling our country Netherland which means literally low land (the western part of the Netherlands lies below sealevel). For some strange reason other countries still call our country the Netherlands in stead of Netherland. The only correct name would be Netherland (since we are not a republic any more with Belgium and we are a single country) but since nobody uses it it doesn't exist. Strange. 23:58, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

Sorry, bur The Netherlands formed never a republic with Belgium and Luxemburg. The three countries were part of the possessions of the duke of Burgundy, but the bishpory of Liege (Limburg) was not a part of it. In those days there were 17 Netherlands and a number of free cities. On the formation of the republic of the Netherlands (7 provinces forming the United Netherlands), the southern Netherlands were not a part of it; they were kept under control of Spain (later Austria). Holland was by far the biggest, richest and most populous province of the United Netherlands. In principle every province had a stadholder (representive of the king, but the king did not exist!), but often several province shared the same stadholder (prince of Orange). Because the power of the province Holland, the stadholder of Holland in practice functioned as head of state for all the Netherlands. That is probably the beginning of the confusion. After Napoleon the kingdom of the Netherlands was formed, until 1830 including Belgium and in practice also Luxemburg. Until a few decades ago the inhabitants of the other provinces considered it as an insult, when was said that they were inhabitants of 'Holland'. However, due to internal migration and under influence of foreign people, also many persons from other proveinces are nowadays saying that they come from Holland. So, correctly speaking Netherlands is the correct translation of the kingdom of the Netherlands, but in practice the use of the word is accepted by most people (but not all!). —Preceding unsigned comment added by Robvhoorn (talkcontribs) 09:58, 2 October 2007 (UTC)
& sorry again: From the Romans through te Spanisch occupation this region ('countries' didn't exist!) was called 'the low countries = Nederlanden. Only during the so called Golden Age, the name 'Holland' came in use. Wich btw in MY surroundings only is uses as an insult.

-- (talk) 20:19, 16 May 2008 (UTC)

I believe — I'm unaware of any exact data — that the number of people in The Netherlands using Holland as the name of the country has actually declined since WWII. As I remember it, this was much more common in the first half of the 20th century. It is now far less common than the use of "English" for "British" in the UK. Another point is that it was never in this sense used in any even slightly formal context.--MWAK 10:52, 2 October 2007 (UTC)
There is no statistics, but I guess that you are partly right. In the two provinces North- and Sout-Holland the use of the word Holland for referring to the whole Netherlends has strongly declined, however, in the other parts of the country the use of the word Holland has increased considerably. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Robvhoorn (talkcontribs) 08:03, 3 October 2007 (UTC)

In Hebrew, for example, the only name for the country is Holland. But maybe it's a bad example since there are countries with completely unrelated names in Hebrew (France=Tzarfat, Spain=Sfarad) (talk) 13:28, 3 September 2010 (UTC)

Holland and The Netherlands are not the same, therefore using Holland isn't necessarily wrong[edit]

I'm sorry to add this remark only now, four years after this discussion took place, but there is one thing that people seemingly fail to understand. Not the entire Netherlands is Holland and as such, the terms "The Netherlands" and "Holland" are not interchangable, but that does not change the fact that there is a region called Holland. Therefore, I am from Holland or I live in Holland isn't necessarily wrong. I myself, for example, am from Holland (to be precise from South-Holland and to be more precise from Katwijk). So a Dutchman talking about Holland isn't necessarily using the wrong term. In Dutch, I would rather say I am from the Randstad, but as that term doesn't really have a proper English translation, I often use "Holland" instead. For my current place of residence, I use "the Netherlands", not Holland (I live in Limburg nowadays). PPP (talk) 23:57, 24 December 2014 (UTC)

I understand what you're trying to say, but to my experience many Dutchmen do indeed mean the entire country of the (European) Netherlands when they say "Holland". I have yet to encounter an example a Dutchman refering to "Holland" in the narrow sense to describe where he/she comes from, myself and you excluded. I think we should hurry up and create a superprovince or state covering both provinces (plus Utrecht and Flevoland if need be), so we can clearly called that "Holland". Fedor (talk) 20:21, 27 December 2014 (UTC)

Map issues[edit]

If this article is about Holland, then why is the exact same map of The Netherlands (from the article on The Netherlands) showing all of the other pronvinces/regions, without any highlight/focus on North Holland and South Holland? I suggest someone find or create map similar to those that are entirely gray save for the area discussed. The map used in the Bretagne article could make a good model. CJ Withers 13:34, 17 May 2006 (UTC)

Here you go :) --Astrokey44 15:37, 1 January 2007 (UTC)

It would be very interesting to show maps of the county of Holland around the 16th century, before the construction of the polders and the struggle against water. Furthermore a map of the Netherlands from before the 12th century would also be very interesting, because it shows that before the major inundations by the North Sea resulting in the Zuiderzee, nowadays IJsselmeer, Holland and Friesland were seperated by a rather connection between Lake Flevo and North Sea. Unfortunately, I don't know how to obtain such maps.


The primary definition of the word holland is an abbreviated form of "holy land."

It has also been used by a country in northern Europe called Holland.

Additionally, the word is used as a name for a type of cloth.

Ultimately (possibly)? Which is it?[edit]

From the article:

The name Holland ultimately stems (possibly) from holt land ("wooded land")

I don't think you can possibly ultimately stem from something ... you either utlimately stem, or possibly stem but not both. That's like saying some thing is "possibly absolutely" certain ...


Anyone know whether to take that seriously? It is also present in the Uncyclopedia, but nowhere else - I Googled it. Remove? --Mirithing 12:42, 25 December 2006 (UTC)

Untrue mentioning of transferred villages[edit]

It says "More recent territorial changes are the transfer of Oudewater, Woerden and Vianen from South Holland to the province of Utrecht, in 1600, 1989 and 2002 respectively." This is unfortunately not true, I think. These villages, Woerden and Vianen I'm certain about, were Utrecht villages all along, so no transfer in recent history. Please give factual information.

According to these websites and my memory the information you dispute is correct. [2] [3] [4] Bart van der Pligt 14:42, 23 January 2007 (UTC)


The article is stating that the region Holland is populated by 16,7 million inhabitants, while the population of The Netherlands is, at most, 16,6 million. I'm going to add up the population of the provinces North- and South-Holland to each other and take that as the population for the region.- 15:36, 20 July 2007 (UTC)

Yes, someone again confused the two concepts :o). I'll remedy.--MWAK 07:07, 22 July 2007 (UTC)


I hope I won't be treading on any toes, but it is clear that this article desperately needs substantial editing (without necessarily changing the subject matter).

  • The language and style are rough in places.
  • It jumps around from subject to subject.
  • The headings are misleading and confusing.
  • Inexplicably, there are maps showing the Netherlands, when the article is about Holland. Surely there are maps and other images that deal with Holland itself.

I am willing to spend the time to bring this article to a higher level. I hope it doesn't create conflict with the original author(s). I'm sure you'll be pleased with the result. Schildewaert (talk) 07:47, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

Well, you certainly made a good effort at improving the general arrangement of the information, but I think you also went awry on a few points:
  1. Your style is at present too colloquial. The article is not a tourist brochure.
  2. Do not hesitate to use the adjective "Hollandic" if the use of an adjective would be normal. Your statement that it does and does not exist in English is of course contradictory. It does — many English historians have come to the conclusion they cannot do without — and this is precisely the sort of context in which it would be functional and thus appropriate. The section you wrote about this seems merely to be created to argue otherwise. The statement that especially in an historical context, the adjective "Dutch" can be used, is of course as such correct. But only in those cases in which no contrast exists to the other provinces.
  3. Unless you intend to expand the article considerably, the number of chapters and sections is at the moment much too high. Condensing a bit wouldn't hurt if the subject matter can be logically connected.--MWAK (talk) 16:55, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for your feedback. I don't agree with any of your comments of course. The style is fine for an article of this nature. This article (like the current article on "History of the Netherlands") was in a dreadful state. I don't agree with your comments on the number of chapters and the adjectival use of "Hollandic". My comment about this is perfectly correct. "Hollandic" is used in a few very limited situations and should not be adopted by anyone as a translation for "Hollands". I'm not prepared to hear my aunt talk about her "Hollandic vacation"! Also, this is not an article on the "history" of Holland per se. I think that the historical references should all be taken out, although I've done my best to try to give it some meaning in this context. Many thousands of Dutch people will visit this site to see how to translate "Hollands" into English. Schildewaert (talk) 21:36, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

I agee, the article needs substantial editing and I think that Schildewaert made a good start. I do not agree the style is too colloquial, and anyway as I said, I think it is a good start and I am convinced style will improve in subsequent minor edits. I am a bit worried though about the addition of the list in the middle of the article. One way or another Dutch wiki has many lists in articles, while English wiki tends to split those of. Personally I am more in favour of the latter.
I would be very hesitant to use Hollandic after say 1600 as I have seen it only used by Medieval historians in England. (before about 1600 the Netherlands did not exist and Holland was a separate entity).
I think the proposed structure is a great improvement, again, I see this as a very good start rather then the end result. Some structuring was desperately needed.
Re Schilewaert. There are some standards and guidelines on Wiki (and on English wiki these are more formal compared to most other Wikipedias). Most importantly: it is a cooperative project. You have to assume everyone is out there to improve (assume good faith); and it is perfectly alright to disagree as even 2,000 hours of editing an article will not give you ownership over the content. If you can't take criticism Wiki may indeed not be the project for you, but be aware that only be constant evaluation and improvement by multiple editors, exhibiting multiple ideas and points of view is there any chance of a volunteer encyclopia to be even closely reliable. Arnoutf (talk) 21:52, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for your feedback Arnoutf. I included the list because I noticed immediately that this aspect of "Holland" was simply not well covered on the English Wikipedia. Nothing on Bollenstreek, Noorderkwartier, Het Gooi, and so on. I don't mind if this info is split off, but what you call it? Regions of Holland?

I have noticed that there seems to be a lot of heavy-handedness on the part of some Wikipedians. Some just seem to go from article to article to slap on the warning boxes and take on the role of hall monitor/nanny. I suppose it's to be expected on a system with anonymity. In this case, I think the disparaging remarks about "tourist style" were directed mainly at the section on geography. I simply reworked the material that was already there and fleshed it out a bit so that people who know nothing about Holland at all (tourists even) would have something to read. Wikipedia is not just for historians. Schildewaert (talk) 22:05, 8 March 2008 (UTC)

I am not a fan of the warning boxes myself, I think it has grown out of control; there is always something wrong with things even in papers in journals like Science and Nature, and those don't have warning boxes.
Consensus is not necessarily anonimity, but it requires much more than mere majority. The line is thin though (have a look at the European Union article and shiver.
I agree, with your approach, and noticed you fleshed out existing materials. In my opinion Wikipedia is not for historians at all (or any other specialist, they should go to their University library and study the primary literature) but for the interested public. Arnoutf (talk) 22:17, 8 March 2008 (UTC)
With a "too colloquial style" I meant phrases like: "The colourful picture-postcard images of flower fields, especially tulip fields, are a typical scene in rural Holland in March and April" or "Each of the provinces in the Netherlands has a distinct and proud history that deserves full attention on its own", that are evidently too informal. Perhaps I should also add that I think you write very well and pleasing. Just a tad too colloquial for an encyclopedia ;o).
As regards the vexing question of whether or not to use the adjective "Hollandic": your statement in the article <<There is no adjectival form for "Holland">> is of course simply incorrect. What is lacking is a commonly used adjective. But the reason for this, is obviously that "Holland" itself is commonly used in English as an equivalent of "The Netherlands". If so the adjective "Dutch" is appropriate. In those rare occasions however when "Holland" refers to Holland proper, the province, it would be very awkward not to use an adjective, so linguists and historians, the people most liable to find themselves in such a situation, employ the term "Hollandic" — and not just for mediaeval times: Jonathan Israel, at present the most influential anglophone writer on the subject of Dutch history, regularly uses it for the period of the Republic. Now this article is just such an occasion: it is not about The Netherlands but about the province. It would thus seem appropriate to conform to the specialist use of an adjective, as we indeed need to use the term "Holland" itself in a very special sense. Most readers are no doubt quite surprised to learn that Holland is just one of the Netherlands and that a distinction can be made. To surprise them a bit further, by using the word "Hollandic" to which they most certainly also will not be accustomed, is then quite functional because it has the enormous advantage of avoiding in each instance the inherent ambiguity: is Holland proper meant or not? "Hollandic" leaves no doubt as to that. Appositional constructions like "Holland Lion" produce an English that is just as poor as "Germany Eagle" or "Russia Bear". Obviously we must make it very clear that the usage is specialist and problematical in colloquial language; there are no unproblematical solutions however: the ones you suggested all carry the dangerous ambiguity...--MWAK (talk) 09:04, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

I've amended the article to reflect your concerns and to eliminate points in dispute. There were reasons for including those points but I don't disagree with your comments and the fact that they are in dispute is enough for me to edit them out. Perhaps somebody is willing to add a usage note on "Hollandic" and "Hollandish" but I can't bring myself to do it. I think the usage of "Hollandic" you describe is irregular, even in the context you describe. Only a few older English dictionaries even list the word. I haven't searched through the books carefully, but I don't think this construction is used by Price, Schama, and others. Perhaps I'm wrong though. I hesitate to add it here because of the popularity of google and the possibility that it will take hold the way that the adjectival use of "Netherlands" has taken hold. Schildewaert (talk) 07:01, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

You're right about Schama at least — but then, stressing the dictinction between Holland and the other provinces would not have fitted his theories ;o). I think the problem in the present section about usage is that you have done what is natural: you have tried to advise the reader on which adjective to use. But the function of an encyclopedia is not primarily prescriptive but descriptive. We shouldn't tell the reader what to do but what the linguistic facts are. So if we should agree that (pace Schama :o) "Holland Lion" is poor English, we still should mention such constructions, because they are in fact used. If the reader should imitate them, this is perhaps deplorable — but not our business.
So I propose the section to be structured like this: first the fact that no common adjective exists, connecting this to the fact that "Holland" most often is an equivalent of "The Netherlands"; then the fact that specialists in a linguistic and historical context sometimes use the terms "Hollandish" or "Hollandic" and last the way the problem outside of these contexts is in fact solved.
As to the very different question whether we, in this article, should employ the term, I tend to answer in the affirmative, following this line of argument:
  1. Our primary task is to correctly inform the reader.
  2. This noble quest is imperilled by the fact said reader has been conditioned to equate "Holland" with "The Netherlands".
  3. This conditioning is apparently very strong: countless times have editors, in good faith, changed the population number from 6.1 to 16.1 million and "County of Holland" into "Country of Holland", despite the article making it abundantly clear it is not about the country.
  4. We are therefore in need of an adjective that unambiguously does not refer to "The Netherlands".
  5. Such an adjective exists: "Hollandic".
  6. This adjective is used by specialists within a historical context for precisely the same reasons we need it: to stress the distinction with the other provinces and to avoid ambiguity.
  7. An encyclopedic article should be as close as possible to the best sources. As these are often scientific, parts of its content will — and should —function as little pieces of scientific discourse, including the terminology. So when we describe the history of Holland it is fitting that we should also adopt the typical historical jargon. Compare this to the use of Italic.
  8. That the adjective is never used outside of a scientific context only serves our purpose.
Your concerns about normativity are reflected by your fear that "Hollandic" would "take hold". I could again say that this is not our business; but should we care about the use of proper language (I know I do :o), there seems to be nothing improper in the spread of a functional concept. Of course this might be different if it were again misunderstood and started to replace "Dutch". But chances of this happening are surely infinitisimally small, certainly if we use the very pedantic "Hollandic" instead of "Holandish" ;o).--MWAK (talk) 08:59, 10 March 2008 (UTC)
I agree with the first 4 points of your analysis. However I start to disagree at point 5.
Yes Hollandic as a words exists, but then again British as an adjective also exists and does not refer to the Netherlands. Ok, this is not a very good example but point 5 should be
5 This same adjective should on the other hand refer to the modern province/county of Holland
Then your point 5 (IMHO) no longer holds as it does not refer to the modern province of Holland, but to the old county/state
I also disagree with point 6. Yes it is used in historical context, but not to distinguish from the Netherlands (which at that time did not exist) but as the only option to discuss the largely independent entity of Holland (notice that the early republic discussed by Israel was a very loose federation.
At 7; yes we should use good source; but we only have them for the historic context (I would say pre 1795). So for that period we can use Hollandic, but not after.
At 8 That the adjective is used in scientific context only is acceptable, although I would prefer a more commonly used term if available. That the adjective is only used in historical context is however a problem, trasnfering that to modern context could be considered original research, or some variant on neologism (actually reviving an archaic word no longer in use); both of which are discouraged in Wikipedia. Arnoutf (talk) 11:16, 10 March 2008 (UTC)
Yes, I too had mainly the use in a historical context in mind; keeping close to the sources will reflect that these rarely use "Hollandic" in a modern context, with the exception of linguistics of course.--MWAK (talk) 06:57, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

Vrouw Holle[edit]

- Just curious why there is no mention of Vrouw Holle here. She was a strongly admired goddess in this region, especially worshiped in hollow trees (or Holle trees, why not). It would be interesting to look into this connection a bit further. She was the godess of ALL, or better known as the goddess of birth, death and rebirt. Later only known as the goddess of the underworld and then often called Hell (really!) Besides, how much wood was there is these swamps of the 1st milenium anyway? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:19, 4 April 2008 (UTC)

Well, the theory that the name is derived from Hel (being), today has been almost entirely discarded by serious scientists. The area also had a wooded zone between the dunes and the swamps — and bushes are holt too. --MWAK (talk) 07:11, 5 April 2008 (UTC)

--- Well, of course scientists are great and all (meaning: I am one of them) but not perfect. And there is a long history of refusing to look to unwritten history or anything that is female or spiritual. Still, this question is out of historical interest, not religious or otherwise unscientific. What basis did they use to connect it to Holt and how certain are they? And my theory has little to do with Hel, as that is the northern name used for the same goddess, in Holland she was called Holle. (by the way, revered often in hollow trees (I call them Holle trees, which is proper dutch, without the capital) so there could be a link with the trees being called Holt as well) ---—Preceding unsigned comment added by [[User:{{{1}}}|{{{1}}}]] ([[User talk:{{{1}}}|talk]] • [[Special:Contributions/{{{1}}}|contribs]]) 3 comments:

  1. Please sign your posts using the four tildes ~~~~
  2. While this is all interesting it feels like original research. If you think "unwritten history" is neglected, feel free to change that...... by publishing it in the scientific literature outside Wikipedia. As Wikipedia aims to be an encyclopedia, and not a scientific journal, all presented facts require verifiable sources; and tends to adopt mainstream theories.
  3. More about the content. If you doubt the etymology of "Holland" to "Holtland" please ask for a reference for that claim; that should be found easily. However be careful with your lay-etymology attirubting Holland to Hollow and through that to vrouw Holle (btw "holle trees" is not proper Dutch, "Holle bomen" is). I am pretty sure that "Hollow" and "Holt" are very different. Arnoutf (talk) 22:37, 5 April 2008 (UTC)

1. I didn't know about the ~ thingies 2. There are published books about this, I am just not aware of any science on it. And I attributed hollow to holle, not the other way around 3. Holt and hout are just as different as hol and hout are. I am sure these scientist people used proper research, but I would like a reference to check that. That was the whole point of asking this question. Why holt and not something else? 4. dont take my jokes serious. (talk) 19:11, 6 April 2008 (UTC)

I realised you didn't know the ~ thingies, no problem. And of course the holle bomen etc was a joke, my response was meant as one too, but agree did not come across as such.
Back to the issue. This is the Holland article, and the accepted etymology is Holtland (that's why I entered Holt into the debate). Neither Holt nor Hollow is likely to have immediate relation to Hout. But the similarity makes it difficult. Anyway, I am still not convinced the whole "vrouw Holle" story needs to be in this article. Arnoutf (talk) 19:28, 6 April 2008 (UTC)

well, I think it is a good theory, she was worshipped as the main goddess in the area before the christians stopped it. You would pronounce Holleland as Holland. and it is not at all odd to name your country after what you believe in (like angel land, or england) I can't see the link with Holtland yet really, as you would probably sooner loose the l than the t, and havent seen many countries named after their vegetation. And besides, I don't trust scientific research, as I have seen too many scientists fumbling with data, so they got the result they could understand. And how many scientist would look at a Grimm story? Not many would know there is more than just a story. And it is not bad to know there are more theories and to think away of main stream. I would not suggest writing it down as a fact perhaps, but as a possible theory. This Holt theory to me just seems like people babbling after other people without thinking too much, just cause its common sense. (talk) 19:49, 6 April 2008 (UTC)

Scientific publishing maybe biased sometimes, it still is the best thing we have.
Anyway, according to Wikipedia policies, wikipedia is not the place to engage in original research as all facts need to be verifiable. And even if you can find some references for your theory it still needs to be shown to be more than a fringe theory. This does not say all information on Wikipedia needs factually be true, only that it reflects mainstream scientific opinion (which maybe wrong). Wikipedia is not the place to engage in debate concerning the validity of current views. If you think you can make the case for your Holle->Holland, feel free to publish those views elsewhere; gather support for the view after which the view is welcome on Wikipedia. (please read the Wikipedia policies on original research WP:OR, verifiability WP:V and the inclusion of fringe theories WP:FRINGE, before continuing with this debate). Arnoutf (talk) 20:32, 6 April 2008 (UTC)

ok. it was still worth trying though :D (talk) 13:19, 7 April 2008 (UTC)

"Holland" is colloquially used in English and other languages, including sometimes the Dutch language itself,"[edit]

Huh? 'I speak Holland". Doesn't work. This statement is total nonsense. Holland is never used as the name of language in English. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:13, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

I agree the sentence is complex, but IMHO the line ""Holland" is colloquially used in English and other languages, including sometimes the Dutch language itself, to mean the whole of the modern country of the Netherlands. " should be read as "In English and other languages (including Dutch), the word Holland is used as a synonym for the country the Netherlands"'. Arnoutf (talk) 10:19, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
The sentence as it originally was makes sense. The source of's confusion (i.e that this sentence refers to the language as opposed to the name of the region) is unclear. Perhaps he/she isn't an English speaker. Your suggestion is also fine Arnoutf. Although the change seems unnecessary, I've amended it to try to eliminate this confusion, unnecessary as it is. Schildewaert (talk) 05:27, 13 April 2008 (UTC)

I'm am L1 (native) speaker and a qualified English teacher. The sentence is as it stands total rubbish. The word Holland isn't the name of a language in English. You cannot say "He speaks Holland" any more than you can say "He speaks Germany". Holland is the name for a country not a language. THe English name for the language most commonly used is Dutch. P.S. It's best practice to get always ge a native speaker to check a text.

This whole article is full inaccuracy. You cannot say that the English word "Holland" is used incorrectly. Words in common usage are never "incorrect". They may betray their etymology.

The adjective for 'Holland' in English is 'Dutch'. You may not like that fact because you obviously have no serious understanding of linguistics. Much of what is written about English on this page is total fantasy at worst and POV at best. It reads like someone who has a bee in their bonnet that the word for their country in another language isn't to their liking, or that the writer fails to understand that English is not Dutch.

First of all, nobody is referring to Holland as a language, and I cannot read that in any of the texts; so I really don't see the point of this discussion.
My suggestions was not immediately meant as a replacement only to deconstruct the meaning of the original sentence; but if you think it fits, fine with me
Thirdly, the article agrees with the colloquial use of Holland for the Netherlands, but states that it is only about the province Holland. The disambiguation pointers to the full Netherlands should help readers who thought they would end up in the Netherlands (btw, this is not so different from England which is colloquially used in many countries to mean the whole of the UK).
Finally. when we are specifically referring to the province Holland, the adjective is Hollandic. This is archaic but used in English (e.g. by historians such as Israel). When referring to the pars-pro-toto the adjective is Dutch; but this page is not about the Netherlands. Arnoutf (talk) 09:48, 13 April 2008 (UTC)

I've amended the text to try to make it clearer. Also, all of your points are dealt with in the article. Still, I'd like to comment further about this.

You said: "The word Holland isn't the name of a language in English. You cannot say "He speaks Holland" any more than you can say "He speaks Germany"."

I agree with your comment here, but it's not clear why you made it. It seems to be based on the erroneous assumption that in this article it says somewhere that someone can "speak Holland". That's not what it says. (There is a reference to a dialect called "Hollandic".) With all due respect, you seem to have misread what was written there. I've simplified it so that others hopefully don't make the same mistake.

You said: "Holland is the name for a country not a language."

This is completely false. Holland is not a country at all. You've missed the entire point of the explanation. The name of the country in English is "The Netherlands". (If you want references to back this up, let me know. They are easy to find.) "Holland" per se no longer exists. The region that used to be called "Holland" is merely part of the Netherlands. It was divided into two provinces, neither of which is called "Holland". It is important to point this out in this article because there is a wealth of information available on Wikipedia for those who search under the correct names.
I've been told by Dutch people that English speakers are confused about this point, but until reading your post I've never really understood how deep this confusion is. People who refer to the Netherlands as "Holland" are doing so colloquially and incorrectly.
The approach taken here is the same as that taken in the Merriam-Webster definition of "Holland":
1 - ...
2 - medieval county of Holy Roman Empire bordering on North Sea, now forming North & S.South Holland provinces of the Netherlands
3 — see Netherlands
I want to add here that for someone to insist that another country's name is something that it is not is culturally insensitive and close to arrogant. Imagine insisting to a Scot that the Scot is from "England". Yes, many people (including Dutch people) do themselves use "Holland" in this way but it is colloquial and inaccurate.

You said: "The English name for the language most commonly used is Dutch."

I don't disagree with you, but just to reiterate: no one is saying otherwise.

You said: "You cannot say that the English word "Holland" is used incorrectly. Words in common usage are never "incorrect". They may betray their etymology."

I'm sorry, but I quite disagree. It is incorrect to refer to the U.K. as "England", even though many people throughout the world commonly do exactly that. Does this common mistake mean that it would be correct to refer to Scotland as part of England? And that Wikipedia should promote that? Surely not.
People who refer to the Netherlands as "Holland" are not speaking formally, clearly and accurately. They are speaking colloquially. This is explained in the article. It doesn't help that Dutch people are themselves often using "Holland" in this way when they communicate in English.
More importantly, a choice has to be made in Wikipedia about whether to put everything under "Holland" or everything under "the Netherlands". Clearly, it should not go under "Holland". Still, some kind of article is needed for "Holland". This has to include some kind of guidance to direct people to the correct pages.

You said: "The adjective for 'Holland' in English is 'Dutch'."

No, "Dutch" is the adjective for "the Netherlands".

You said: "You may not like that fact...that English is not Dutch."

I recently edited this article and I'm an English speaker. I repeat: I am not Dutch; I am an English speaker. You've assumed a Dutch POV when there is none. These explanations in the article are an attempt to provide some guidance on usage to English speakers and others who are utterly confused about the concept of "Holland" and what it means. I would think that such subtleties would be understood by experts on linguistics and qualified English teachers. Look up pars pro toto.

I don't want to get insulting, but you've pointed out that you are a qualified English teacher and master of linguistics. If you disagree with the explanation at the head of the article or the usage points, or anything, please feel free to make specific suggestions about what you think is incorrect. Perhaps you should support your view with references.

I must say that I would be in favour of folding this entire article down and redirecting people immediately to the Netherlands. Still, usage guidelines about the word "Holland" and a history of Holland as a county (hopefully better than what we have here so far) would still have to find a home somewhere.

Schildewaert (talk) 23:39, 13 April 2008 (UTC)

What to do with this page?[edit]

It's clear that many, many people are typing the word "Holland" into the search box and ending up at this page. The traffic and vandalism on the "Holland" page are indications of that. I'm sure that many of them think this is the "Netherlands" page.

The person who deleted the explanation at the top of the page has not addressed this issue. There is massive confusion about "Holland" and there should be a way to deal with it. This recent amendment will just add to the confusion.

At first I didn't like the extended explanation at the start of the page either, but after a while I realised that some more detailed explanation was necessary there. Indeed, I thought an explanation box with all the bells and whistles should be placed at the top of the page instead of what we had before. What we actually needed was a blinking red box that said "Stop. Go to the Netherlands". This one-liner surely does not do the job.

The problem with the one-line explanation is that it is surely going to lead to many people continuing to treat this page as the page for the Netherlands, thereby missing all the interesting information available on Wikipedia. Just read the comments above to see how completely confused English speakers (and perhaps others) can be about this issue.

I'm sorry, but I am going to put the explanation back.

I would like to propose another solution. Why not direct people who type "Holland" immediately to a disambiguation page? If that were the case, there would be no need for lengthy explanations on the Holland page itself. Notice that the links to other-language Wikipedias are directing people to the "Holland" disambiguation site. The first contact people have with "Holland" should be the disambiguation page, not a page dealing with the historical county of Holland.

And this page is a little contradictory. For example, the information at the end about "perceptions of Holland" belies the other information indicating that "there is no Holland any more". The "geography" and "regions" information reproduces the info found on the other pages for Netherlands, South Holland, North Holland, etc. The heading of this page could be changed to something like "County of Holland" so that it is clear that it is a history page.

On the Dutch site they deal with this with a separate page on "Hollandse identiteit". Perhaps that's needed here too.


1. "Holland (disambiguation)" --> "Holland" (This will direct everyone immediately to the disambig page.)

2. "Holland" --> "County of Holland" or the "Pre-1830 county of Holland" (On the Dutch wikipedia they have "Graafschap Holland".)

3. "County of Holland" (ie this page) be stripped of all non-historical information (including geography).

4. The regions of Holland part be split up and integrated into the pages on "South Holland" and "North Holland"

5. Create a separate page for "Origins and usage of the word Holland"

6. Create a separate page for "Holland's identity"

7. Amend the disambiguation page to record the above

Changing the names of the articles will create problems along the line with the links on other pages, but what other choice do we have? Mistakes were made in how these pages were named and organised. There is too much confusion about "Holland" for this to be the main point of entry.

Another issue: is there a "Holland" or is there not? Obviously there is still a ghost Holland out there. And this is not simply an erroneous reference to the Netherlands. People both inside and outside Holland still refer to "Holland" as a regional entity of some kind. This is not that unusual and exists in other countries as well. For example, "Normandy" no longer exists per se as an official entity, and yet it has an identity and people still refer to "Normandy". This is another issue that should be dealt with somehow, but I'm not sure how. Maybe under "Holland's identity"?

Schildewaert (talk) 08:42, 9 May 2008 (UTC)

To begin with answering your last issue: indeed, there very much is a Holland — and it has much more than a merely ghostly existence. This Holland is also more than simply the political history of the County of Holland (ending in 1795 — or as some would say already in 1581) or the province of Holland (ending in 1840); its geographical qualities are relevant too — and so is its history prior to its becoming a county — and most important is its development as a cultural entity. Some information might be best inserted into North Holland and South Holland, like the details about the regions. The issues "Origins and usage of the word Holland" and "Holland's identity" have however their natural place in an article "Holland"; giving them their own article in full length would be nice (combined with the present summary style mention in the larger article) but should not lead, by removal, to creating an artificial division between all kinds of information that must still somewhere be treated as an integrated whole. This is clearly shown by the obvious fact that a County of Holland article would also have to explain the origins of the name — and would also have to dedicate a chapter to the growing cultural dominance of the province within the whole of the Netherlands during the 17th and 18th century. As this growth did not stop in 1840 but to the contrary accelerated, it would be most natural to mention the beginning, development and present result of this phenomenon in one article.
However, directing the reader immediately to a disambiguation page seems most practical; the present article could then be renamed Holland (region), which would elegantly solve your last problem. The humongous amount of information available about the political history made by the Hollandic counts could then be placed in a separate County of Holland article.--MWAK (talk) 11:58, 9 May 2008 (UTC)
I agree we can best rename the current disambiguation page Holland (disambiguation) Holland and then create a Holland (region), County of Holland C mon (talk) 12:36, 9 May 2008 (UTC)

Non-Hollanders referring to themselves as Hollanders[edit]

A recent edit by an unregistered user has reversed the sentence in the article about some Dutch people not appreciating the term Hollanders. This was done without comment. It used to say this:

"Indeed, many Dutch people would resent being referred to as "Hollanders" in the same way that many people from Scotland would resent being referred to as "English"."

Now it says this:

"However, not many Dutch people would resent being referred to as "Hollanders" in the way many people from Scotland would resent being referred to as "English", because informally all Dutchmen refer to themselves as "Hollanders", though it is not correct."

The author of this last edit feels that Dutch people have no problem referring to themselves as Hollanders. I realise that this is not a clear-cut issue, but it's too categorical to say that no one minds it. There are some who do. Many even. Perhaps even most in provinces like Limburg. See here for example:

I propose dealing with this by taking out the entire sentence on the grounds that it is under dispute.

(What is it about this particular page???? Everything here seems to get vandalised or disputed at one point or another.)

Schildewaert (talk) 21:27, 9 May 2008 (UTC)

Simply put the first version was not very controversial and (with the references provided by you) does conform to WP:V, the second line is at best original research. (In any case; but this is a bit incrowd, following Poppers reasoning, the line reverted by you requires that all 16+ million Dutchmen are interviewed, while the opposite only requires a single Dutch person to disagree. I do, so the "all Dutchmen" line is already proven (i.e. sufficient empirical evidence of the contrary is already provided by my statement "I do") to be incorrect)
In other words, I support your change for 100%. Well caught. Arnoutf (talk) 22:00, 9 May 2008 (UTC)

Amendment of this page[edit]

Three of us have expressly agreed that a change here is necessary. Ideally more discussion would have been preferred about changing this page, but there seems to be some consensus. And yet the problem is ongoing. The irregular traffic and constant vandalism and misunderstanding about the word "Holland" are still occurring. This seems to be generated mostly by the fact that this page is simply entitled "Holland". The word "Holland" attracts a good deal of misunderstanding and attention. The point of first contact should be a disambiguation page.

I propose making the changes identified above slowly and step by step, starting first with points 3 and 4. The idea here will be first of all to remove from this article anything that should properly go into the articles for the Netherlands, South Holland or North Holland.

Schildewaert (talk) 07:07, 17 May 2008 (UTC)

So far no objections, so I assume the consensus is to proceed with the proposal described above. I've transferred the lists of regions to "North Holland" and "South Holland". The next step will be to integrate the sections on "Geography" and "Language" into the appropriate pages for the (Geography of the Netherlands, South Holland, North Holland, Hollandic, etc), if necessary simply deleting them (in whole or in part) if they are a complete duplication of information already found there. Schildewaert (talk) 07:02, 19 May 2008 (UTC)

But this is not where we have reached consensus on! The idea was to rename the present article into Holland (region); geography and language information can then simply be kept.--MWAK (talk) 09:23, 19 May 2008 (UTC)

Once again, this is the proposal:

1. turn this page into a redirect page, so that everyone who goes to "Holland" ends up at "Holland (disambiguation)" as the first point of contract

2. beef up "Holland (disambiguation" a touch

3. put the historical information found here on a new page called "County of Holland (before 1830)" or something to that effect

4. strip away that information (including language, geography and territory) that essentially

  • duplicates information already found under Netherlands, South Holland, North Holland, Hollandic or perhaps another page and
  • gives the false impression of Holland being a country in itself and
  • leads people to think this is a country page

5. create a new page called "Holland (region)" for the remaining odds and ends relating to the concept of "Holland" as a modern region (including identity and pars pro toto issues)

Schildewaert (talk) 22:24, 19 May 2008 (UTC)

Sounds like a very good proposition to me:-) Tomeasytalk 06:44, 20 May 2008 (UTC)
It seems obvious to me that an article about a region should have geographical and linguistical information about that region. The, presently rather minimal, historical information, had better been on that page too, for the simple reason that the region had a history before it became a county — and the historical administrative changes after it ended being a county and before the split between North Holland and South Holland (i.e. the period between 1795 and 1840) has to be treated somewhere also. Disambiguation pages should emphatically not be "beefed up". And is the impression that Holland is a "country in itself" totally false? Not really. Of course the concept "country" is in itself ambiguous. According to Jonathan Israel The Netherlands originated by a process of nation formation making them in essence a Greater Holland. If so, by necessity any correct treatment of the subject will reflect this historical ambiguity: Holland was at the same time a region among others and the core of a new nation. So foreigners do not simply make a mistake when calling The Netherlands Holland; they are recognising a fundamental truth. Yes, this is a bit confusing and thus will also confuse the reader. But this is as it should be. Deleting and fragmentating those aspects only obfuscates the true situation: that there is a political and cultural entity called "Holland", persistent through the centuries, that is in some ways contiguous with The Netherlands and in some ways in contraposition to them and this till the present day. You are trying to create a false impression of clarity where none is present :o).
You see, encyclopedias are not there to makes things easy for the reader but simply to present the facts, even if these be

difficult facts.--MWAK (talk) 11:03, 20 May 2008 (UTC)

How the article is written[edit]

Does anyone else think the article reads more like a novel or something than an encyclopedia article?

"Each of the provinces in the Netherlands has a history that deserves full attention on its own. However, to a certain extent at least, the history of Holland is the history of the Netherlands, and vice versa. See the article on "History of the Netherlands" for a more detailed history. The article here focuses on those points that are specific to Holland itself or that highlight the nature of the role played by Holland in the Netherlands as a whole.

[Reclamation of the land

The land that is now Holland had never been stable. Historical maps of Holland bear little resemblance to the maps of today. Over the millennia the geography of the region had been dynamic. The western coastline shifted up to thirty kilometres to the east and storm surges regularly wreaked havoc with the coastline."

Holland should redirect to the Netherlands[edit]

Holland should redirect to the Netherlands. Everyone I know, including Dutchmen themselves, call The Netherlands Holland and infact I did not even know Holland was a region before seeing this on Wikipedia. Holland should be a redirect with a notice put on the Netherlands page for a disambiguation. I guarantee 99.99% of people who search for 'Holland' on wikipedia are searching for the country and not the region!! --The High Commander (talk) 01:50, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

Well, if your concern is to guide people to The Netherlands, a redirect has little added value: they will reach their destination soon enough. However, I believe that people wanting to know about "Holland", will typically not be interested in the political entity "The Netherlands" but in some socio-cultural image: that place with all those windmills, tulips, cheese and wooden shoes. And that would be the region. Furthermore, being immediately redirected from "Holland" to "The Netherlands" might well cause the reader to assume the one is simply an alternative name of the other — but there is nothing "simple" about the real situation and thus such a redirect would be grossly deceptive. Or he might be surprised about the unfamiliar official name; in that case a search term "Holland" which directly leads him to, well, Holland, would best serve his need to be informed. Finally, I strongly believe most readers are in fact eager to be informed whether their vernacular use of a word is at odds with its "historically correct" meaning. Being historically correct is therefore not such a bad principle for an encyclopedia to be organised along. Or would you also argue that England should redirect to United Kingdom?--MWAK (talk) 06:54, 3 August 2008 (UTC)
Or America to the United States? Someone has created a redirect from Holland to its disambig page, which may be relevant here. I am not happy about the renaming to "subnational area" though, anyone better suggestions? Arnoutf (talk) 21:56, 14 February 2009 (UTC)
Well, "region" might do. I redirected to the disambiguation page after user Matt Yeager renamed the original article Holland to Holland (subnational area) and redirected the lemma Holland to The Netherlands, which is clearly suboptimal. He did so without solving the practical problem of changing all the many thousands of links...If that problem is not solved very soon, the only option seems to be to return to the original situation.--MWAK (talk) 22:25, 14 February 2009 (UTC)
I'd say return to the original situation. In any case, undiscussed page moves on these Holland/Netherlands pages are not the best idea. There should be consensus before such a move as this one is made. carl bunderson (talk) (contributions) 22:41, 14 February 2009 (UTC)
I tend to agree that undoing the move is probably best. A second option, albeit suboptimal, would be a pointer to the disambiguation page; as MWAK made. Matt Yeagers idea bypassing the whole issue to go to the Netherlands, is in my view not an acceptable option. Arnoutf (talk) 23:08, 14 February 2009 (UTC)
Alright, I apologize for apparently stirring up an issue that needed not be stirred up. I assumed that the page had kind of haphazardly assumed such a character and didn't really notice the very volatile status quo. My apologies. Matt Yeager (Talk?) 23:21, 14 February 2009 (UTC)
Apologies accepted. I'll restore the original situation.--MWAK (talk) 07:19, 16 February 2009 (UTC)
Please do not copy and paste content to move a page -- use the Move function, or if that is not possible, place a note at WP:RM. olderwiser 11:28, 16 February 2009 (UTC)
  • Please do not redirect the title Holland to a different target without previous discussion at WP:RM. As per carl bunderson's comment above, this is a potentially highly disruptive change, and should not be made without consensus. In particular, changing the target would change the meaning of approximately 3,000 links in other articles! I'm not taking a position for or against the change, just suggesting that a more careful process needs to be followed before doing something that could affect so many other articles. --R'n'B (call me Russ) 13:05, 16 February 2009 (UTC)
Calling Netherlands Holland is about the same as calling United States Dakota
Patio (talk) 15:41, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
  • EXCUSE ME, a non Dutch man trying to tell the Dutch that Holland is the same as the Netherlands? How peculiar. Holland is NOT the same as the Netherlands. Currently, it is an area consisting of two provinces, while the remaing 10 provinces are definitely NOT holland. That many outside of the Netherlands call the country Holland is completely irrelevant to the actual situation. -- Kim van der Linde at venus 15:48, 5 September 2009 (UTC)

Stereotypes of Holland?[edit]

The so-called stereotypes of the Holandic people does really not include the people of the provinces of Holland and Utrecht. Wooden shoes for example are very popular in the north(Groningen, Drenthe & Friesland) And many people there wear Clogs but in Holland its almost a kind of joke if someone would wear them when there isn't a football game/match. The stereotypes of Holland are true for the most parts of the Netherlands but not in Holland or Utrecht. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:18, 25 March 2009 (UTC)

Clogs are used in farming, as Holland and Utrecht are the most urbanised regions the clog density is lowest.
Windmills are most dominant in Holland. Tulip fields are in Holland. Delft blue is from Delft (Holland).
And even so, a stereotype is a psychological construct not an observable truth (not every Englishman is wearing a bowler hat umbrella every day; not all French eat frogs every day, walk around all day with an albino cap and a baguette). Arnoutf (talk) 18:35, 25 March 2009 (UTC)
Actually clogs are still worn. Maybe not as prominently as foreigners tend to think and they're mainly worn for in and around home. They're hardly worn in cities and large towns but especially in the smaller villages in the Groene Hart and West Fryslan they tend to be still in use (Nieuwkoop, Vinkeveen, Sint Maartensbrug etcetera), though besides for some elderly people anybody rarely wears them on the streets.Egishnugal (talk) 19:18, 17 May 2009 (UTC)


The article states a couple of times that the use of "Holland" to mean the whole Netherlands is informal in English. While I'm all for updating the English terminology, it's news to me that this use of "Holland" is "informal". Further, no citation is given for this claim. --MQDuck (talk) 20:56, 3 February 2010 (UTC)

I do not agree with you here; since removing that qualifier would imply the usage is formal (i.e. legal); and that would need a reference.
The argument according to me is something like:
1) I think we all agree it is sometimes used for the Netherlands
2) We can distinguish between informal/collquial use and formal use (in treaties, laws etc.).
3) "Use" without further qualifiers implies the term is synonymous, i.e. it is used both informally AND formally for the Netherlands
4) It was contested that it is used formally for the Netherlands, as none of the treaties with the Netherlands refer to Holland. If we want to uphold this part of the naming, this requires a reference.
5) This leaves informal use exculsively by elimination.
I agree this seems a bit like OR or synthesis. However since "formal use" has not been shown and was contested the option "use" without qualifiers is no longer an option.
This leaves two options. Remove the reference to the usage of Holland for the Netherlands altogether, or add a qualifier that makes it clear it is only used as such in colloquial but not in formal language. "Informal" is one such qualifier "colloquial" would be fine as well, as well as "incorrectly" although that would indeed be updating the English language. But we need a qualifier to remove the official usage from that claim (or a reliable reference that explicitly provides the official status of Holland as a legal synonym for the Netherlands). Arnoutf (talk) 21:10, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
@McDuck I am puzzeled. there are two things I need to know: (1) What is your stance and (2) what are you really looking for?
(1) Do you think that Holland is the formally correct term to refer to the Netherlands? Or, do you think that Holland is never used to refer to the Netherlands?
(2) Do you request a citation that uses the term Holland informally to refer to the Netherlands? Or do you want to see a reference that declares such usage as informal? Tomeasy T C 08:48, 4 February 2010 (UTC)
First of all, it's 'MQDuck'. It's pronounced "Emm-Que-Duck". :-P Anyway, what I want is a reference for the claim that using "Holland" to refer to the whole country is informal in English. Honestly, I don't even know what it takes to qualify is as "formal" or "informal". I'm speaking purely from personal experience, here. While I've always known that the alternate name for the country, "Netherlands", is the considered its only correct name in other places, I've never heard it claimed that using "Holland" for the whole place in English is considered technically false (which is what the term "informal" implies). --MQDuck (talk) 12:49, 7 February 2010 (UTC)
I see that my {{fact}} thingie was taken off from the page. I get the feeling I've upset some people and I'm not sure why. For what it's worth, I personally try to use "Netherlands" because I like to sound like I'm an erudite, global guy. I'm not disagreeing that "Netherlands" *should* be considered the correct term. I just don't personally know that it *is* considered *the* correct term, and neither does the article at the moment.
Anyway, I have zero desire to get into an edit war over this. So if you feel like taking it out again instead of providing a reference, I'm not going to stop you. --MQDuck (talk) 13:10, 7 February 2010 (UTC)
Hi MQDuck! So, if you were to answer my first question, you would say something like you believe that Holland might also be formally correct to refer to the Netherlands. Did I get you right on that one?
To my second question, fortunately, you replied more directly. So, you are looking for an official statement that declares a wrong terminology as such. I hope you understand that this may be more than difficult to find, since official documents regularly define the terms to be used, while they do not explicitly interdict all possible terms that are wrong.
Nevertheless, I will try to find something. Did you already google for it? Tomeasy T C 13:36, 7 February 2010 (UTC)
(edit conflict Tomeasy) I am not overly fond of the informal so I understand your problem. The problem is that I am rather sure there is no source that will support the claim explicitly that the usage is informal. So the only solution would be to remove the word "informally" from the line.
However, I do not think the statement "Holland is used in English to mean the whole of the modern country of the Netherland" is ok either as the implies these are full synonyms in whatever context (incuding legal use in international treaties - see above).
Any word before "used" like "sometimes", "colloquially" (my favourite but see discussion above), "informally", or even "incorrectly" is needed in my view. None of these words will have a reference to support them (see argument by Tomeasy above). But then the only alternative would be to remove the information that Holland is used to indicate the Netherlands in English, which is even more dissatisfying as the information is relevant.
So as far as I can see we have 3 options that are all problematic
1) Holland is used for the Netherlands. This implies full synonyms, including in legal text, which is not true (and can be shown to be). This should be avoided.
2) Holland is "informally (or similar qualifier)" used for the Netherlands. This adds a qualifier that is probably not to be found with a strong source anywhere, and should therefore be avoided.
3) Remove all reference that Holland is used for the Netherlands. This is removes relevant information, and should therefore be avoided.
Since all 3 are to be avoided, and they more or less provide all options, we will have to decide which of the evils is the least of evils. My vote goes to the second option. Arnoutf (talk) 13:41, 7 February 2010 (UTC)

(edit conflict)

As expected, it was not so easy to find official sources that make clear what is incorrect. However, many sites deal with the issue. Here's what I found:
  • [5][6][7] Three unofficial websites, each with a map clarifying the issue, according to what Arnout an I are claiming. I am not convinced that these site are sufficient evidence for you. However, the next one should do so:
  • The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs This page deals exclusively with this questions, and gives some facets in answering it, meaning it is less black and white than expected. However, I cite "The official name of the country is the Netherlands". The question, why Holland is frequently used is answered historically. Hoewever, further down they state that "it is generally accepted that the Netherlands is referred to as Holland in many different languages" and they admit that even they did so on their website in the past, though they changed this.
I essence, there is nothing wrong if you want to refer to the country in English as Holland. However, it is not the formal/official term to be used. I hope, I could convince you, MQDuck. Tomeasy T C 13:51, 7 February 2010 (UTC)
I changed the lede a little bit, introducing the reference to the Ministry. I hope my edit is not too controversial. Feel free to improve. Tomeasy T C 14:08, 7 February 2010 (UTC)
Those references you found seem good enough to me. --MQDuck (talk) 14:31, 7 February 2010 (UTC)
Incidentally, both Encyclopedia Britannica[8] and the Mirriam-Webster Dictionary[9] seem to agree that "Holland" properly refers to a *region* of the Netherlands. I suppose the question of who has the right to define what's "correct" is brought up, but obviously use of the term "informal" is indeed justified by Wikipedia standards. --MQDuck (talk) 16:16, 7 February 2010 (UTC)

A Suggestion[edit]

It seems to me that a lot of this article (and a lot of this discussion page) talks about the confusion between the Netherlands and Holland. So why isn't there a separate page dealing exclusively with that? A link at the top of this page could then replace all this... rather hostile criticism of outsiders' confusions and Hollanders' smug acceptance of their position as the figureheads of the Netherlands with actual information about Holland, which is surely what this page should provide? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:53, 12 June 2010 (UTC)

Well, that smugness is also part of the actual situation :o) — and most of the article is not about this issue. Also, to avoid confusion the confusion itself must be addressed, so a separate article could not replace that. Nevertheless, if sufficient sourced material could be found in principle such an article could be created...--MWAK (talk) 17:24, 12 June 2010 (UTC)

Temporary edit protect until after the World Cup game, and probably a week or two after?[edit]

It'll save a bunch of headaches on vandalism reverts, pretty much irrespective of who wins. JohannVII (talk) 19:33, 11 July 2010 (UTC)

Usage comment in intro[edit]

I dispute this line in the intro: "This usage is generally accepted but nevertheless unofficial." The reference says this:

"Though it is generally accepted that the Netherlands is referred to as Holland in many different languages, some Dutch people, especially those not from North or South Holland, do not like the habit. This website used to use ‘Holland’ instead of ‘the Netherlands’ to make page and menu titles shorter, but we received emails from Dutch visitors who objected."

This does not say that the use of "Holland" is generally accepted. It says only that it is generally accepted that Holland is used in many different languages. Of course, that point is true. I generally accept that too! It does not make it right. Nor does it include Dutch, which is the primary language at issue here. The current sentence does not reflect what the reference actually says. But beyond that the primary point is that there are some Dutch people who do not like the use of Holland in this sense, so of course it should not appear in the first line of this article. My amendment was deleted by someone with the comment that it did not reflect the reference and shows POV. I admit it is grating to see, in the very first line of this article, that the use of Holland is "generally accepted". I do have that point of view. I also think it is poor style to include, in the opening line of an encyclopedia article, a contentious comment that is grating on some people. However, I'm willing to rely on the content of the reference, which says that is is not generally accepeted. Schildewaert (talk) 20:04, 15 March 2011 (UTC)


When I lived in Holland (Den Haag) in the 1980s, I was told that Holland consists of what are now the three provinces of North Holland, South Holland and Utrecht. However, wikipedia only refers to two provinces. Can anybody throw light on why I may have been informed that Holland included Utrecht? Thanks in advance. Pdfpdf (talk) 08:10, 25 November 2012 (UTC)

Because the people telling you did not know what they were talking about
(Yes, that alternative had occured to me ... )
Possibly, because the people telling you consider North Holland, South Holland and Utrecht the only true representatives of the Netherlands, and at the same time confused the Netherlands with Holland.....
(They wouldn't have confused the Netherlands with Holland.)
Why might they have considered those three as the only true representatives?
(Because they might have considered the other provinces part of other entities like Flanders and Friesland???)
Most densily populated and has all institutions. A bit like Parisiens thinking they are the only true French ;-) Arnoutf (talk) 11:15, 25 November 2012 (UTC)
Utrecht as independent bishopric traces its origin to 722BC becoming a prince-Bishopric in 1022, with the county of Holland being established somewhere around 900BC. Both were established as similarly important loans by the Frankish emperors and their successors. In fact much of the middle ages showed wars between Utrecht and Holland. They came together in the Burgundian Netherlands; and were both listed among the seven Netherlands in the Dutch replublic (Guelders, Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Frisia, Overijssel, Groningen). Hope this clarifies enough. Arnoutf (talk) 09:26, 25 November 2012 (UTC)
I don't think he meant BC there! Johnbod (talk) 04:18, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
Thanks! Cheers, Pdfpdf (talk) 10:20, 25 November 2012 (UTC)
There might also be a confusion with the Randstad Holland, which does include the city of Utrecht.--MWAK (talk) 13:20, 25 November 2012 (UTC)
Mmmm. Maybe. Thanks, Pdfpdf (talk) 12:14, 26 November 2012 (UTC)


Shouldn't it be added that English is in fact spoken in Amsterdam by some 100.000 inhabitants? I know English is only official in the municipalities of Saba and St. Eustatius and they are both not part of Holland, but English is (besides Dutch) part of everyday life in Amsterdam (much more than in the rest of NL) and Amsterdam *is* part of Holland. Pee-Tor (talk) 22:58, 21 March 2013 (UTC)

That might be an interesting addition, on the condition that you provide a serious source for it. If you are referring to Sranan Tongo, we could of course state in general that several colonial and labour immigrant groups are still extensively using their original languages.--MWAK (talk) 06:18, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
I've added English, using the same source as used on English in the Netherlands. I haven't added anything about Sranan Tongo, as I don't know anything about it and the provided source doesn't state anything about it. PPP (talk) 09:22, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
But that that article does not provide any source! Referring to other Wikipedia articles simply is not sufficient. Besides, it is based on a simple misunderstanding. The total number of "western" immigrants in Amsterdam is about 100,000 (15.6% of the municipal population) and the total of British and American immigrants in the whole of The Netherlands is about 110,000. But these latter do not all live in Amsterdam — or even in Holland proper of course.--MWAK (talk) 21:32, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
The source taken from English in the Netherlands is this one, which is a municipal document which quotes in the introduction text "Naar schatting is 1 op de 8 inwoners van Amsterdam Engelstalig (100.000 mensen)" ("as estimated, 1 out of 8 inhabitants of Amsterdam is an English-speaker (100,000 people)"). It clearly gives a number of English-speakers, not a number of immigrants. I would say in a city like Amsterdam the number of "western" immigrants could well be far greater. Add side note: a number of these English speakers could also be Statian or Saban people who moved to Amsterdam (although this number can safely be considered very small). These English-speakers are however not immigrants, they originate from the Netherlands. PPP (talk) 03:26, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
I see. However, in that case we have to acknowledge the fact that the claim by D66 does not explicitly refer to any scientific research. It's a good source (if we disregard the problem that it's actually a forbidden primary source) that such a claim exists; it's an insufficient source to justify any mention of the "fact". In any case, the claim must be wrong (unless including Sranan Tongo): the 15.6% is from the official statistics, see:,115,123,126,131,135,197,247,263,272,275,277,315,320,327,329,368,428,521,608,678,689,777,790,l&D3=l&HD=121029-1509&HDR=G2,T&STB=G1 I have to admit though that the exact absolute number is 122,938 :o). The total number of UK immigrants in 2012 residing in The Netherlands was 80,010, the total from the USA was 34,588, for a grand total of 114,598, see:,232,245,247&D6=0,4,9,15-16&HDR=G2,G1,G3,T&STB=G4,G5&VW=T There are of course some smaller groups but these do not fundamentally change the picture. If the Amsterdam share of English-speaking immigrants within the western total would equal the national ratio, there would be about 10,000 of them living in the city (perhaps the error originated by someone adding a zero at some point). Conceivably, they are more concentrated (in view of the fact that the western total includes a lot of Belgian and German border immigrants), but a number of 100,000 is simply not in the realm of possibility, unless it is supposed to mean that even non-anglophone immigrants (in the strict sense) often employ English to communicate with the natives.
With "These English-speakers are however not immigrants, they originate from the Netherlands" you refer to the Statians and Sabans, I suppose? Or do you claim there is some mysterious large English-speaking contingent within the non-immigrant population, apart from the former inhabitants of Surinam using Sranan Tongo?--MWAK (talk) 07:57, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
The document I referred to does not look like a D66 document. It refers to the attempt by D66 to make English an official language, but that does not make this document originate from the same political party. Given the way it was signed (by "the municipality council of Amsterdam"), I rather think this is neutral municipal information.
With "these English-speakers are however not immigrants, they originate from the Netherlands" I indeed referred to Statians and Sabans. PPP (talk) 15:07, 23 March 2013 (UTC)
Well, it is not a report, it's a proposal, backed by the city council as a whole, made by Roodink and Paternotte, both present D66 members of the council. What it all boils down to is that we have a single unsubstantiated reference to 100,000 English-speaking inhabitants of Amsterdam, without any clear specification of what is actually meant, e.g. whether the users of Sranan Tongo are included or not. We do know that one possible interpretation, that these people would all be British, American, Australian etc. immigrants, i.e. persons with Standard English as their first language, cannot possibly be correct, in view of the known total of such immigrants in the whole of The Netherlands. However, this incorrect interpretation is precisely the one suggested by the present text, which is thus severely misleading. I feel that this ambiguous and confusing claim had best been removed until we can obtain some source that reflects actual research and clearly makes a distinction between Sranan Tongo speakers and Standard English speakers, also indicating which percentage of the latter employ English as their main form of communication.--MWAK (talk) 08:21, 24 March 2013 (UTC)

You have a good point here. I think the problem mainly is that nobody takes numbers of any language speakers in the Netherlands. Officially, we have four languages (Dutch, Frisian, English and Papiamento) and officially this is due to the areas Friesland, Saba/Statia and Bonaire where officially the languages are different from Dutch (though in addition to Dutch) but it is nowhere to be found how many speakers of a certain language live at a certain place in the Netherlands. Therefore, when counting users of a certain language, usually the entire population of such a region is counted as a speaker of the language spoken in that area. Since Amsterdam is not officially bilingual, English speakers in that city are not counted as such (unlike in Brussels, where inhabitants can register themselves as Dutch or French speakers), even though it is a common known fact that the total amount of English speakers in Amsterdam (however you would count them) outnumbers those of Statia and Saba together, by far.
Clearly, someone at the Amsterdam municipality found "1 out of 8 Amsterdammers is an English-speaker" a good estimate. Why? What is it based on? When is someone counted as an English-speaker? Is it even correct in the first place? Nobody knows for certain. But what we do know is that English plays a big role in every day life in Amsterdam, far more than anywhere else in the Netherlands (except Statia and Saba, of course). That's why, in my opinion, it should at least be noted in this article, with or without the number 100,000. PPP (talk) 10:28, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
After I wrote the above, I stumbled upon this article from De Telegraaf, claiming that English is in fact an official language in Amsterdam. PPP (talk) 11:15, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
"But what we do know is that English plays a big role in every day life in Amsterdam, far more than anywhere else in the Netherlands " - How do you know- this is the case for Amsterdam? What about Rotterdam where the port is using English very much, or Wageningen where about half the inhabitant are directly linked to the University which has a full English master study (and has students from about 150 different countries). Such comparative claims need secondary sources to avoid synthesis.
In addition, I think a discussion on English in Amsterdam is probably better suited for the Amsterdam than the Holland article. Even more, I think we should not discuss the modern ethnic in Holland too much, since the relevance of Holland is mainly historic and is no longer a relevant entity in the Netherlands (in the USA for example comparable to Dakota Territory and the states North and South Dakota).
I would suggest to either add this information to Amsterdam, North Holland or the Netherlands article. Arnoutf (talk) 11:03, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
I agree. Pee-Tor and PPP have raised an interesting issue, but it has nothing at all to do with this particular article. Perhaps there is a need for a separate article on language and language policy in the Netherlands and the Kingdom of the Netherlands. That's where this issue belongs. Schildewaert (talk) 23:18, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
It seems we have a consensus that it is too early to present such data in the article. I'll return it to the previous situation and also adapt English in the Netherlands.--MWAK (talk) 06:28, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
See my comment on Talk: English in the Netherlands. Be advised however that the term Holland is not exclusively historic. I live in Limburg myself and find that people here call me "from Holland", since I originate from South-Holland myself. The term "Randstad" is over here even much less used than the term "Holland". PPP (talk) 09:15, 26 March 2013 (UTC)
That is colloquial use of the term in a specific dialect region. I am pretty sure the people in Southern Limburg would call Utrechters Hollander as well (and possibly everyone living North of Sittard for that matter ;-) Arnoutf (talk) 19:06, 26 March 2013 (UTC)

Moved site[edit]

As in a while now, the site '' has been moved to the Dutch site '' and the English site ''. This leads to that reference 5 is no longer a reference with any depth. I suggest to use the site reference 1 for the same part of reference 5 since it covers the same information. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:27, 9 April 2013 (UTC)

Excellent suggestion and now done.--MWAK (talk) 06:40, 10 April 2013 (UTC)

Unnecessary revert[edit]

I agree that "in principle anything in the lead section should be explained in the main text", and it does. However, it does not mean, that every single thing in the main text should be mentioned in the lead section. The idea in which a term for a part of something can sometimes refer to the whole of something can be understood by anyone without a "clever" Latin phrases. That is why I find "pars pro toto" unnecessary in the lead section. (talk) 14:39, 8 September 2014 (UTC)

Well, you have a point. Preferably the lead uses the simplest language possible. The informality of the term should be indicated though. I'll make the necessary changes, keeping close to your version.--MWAK (talk) 06:12, 9 September 2014 (UTC)
Now, I totally agree with you, although I could not find an explicit rule about "the simplest language possible" in a lead section. Thanks. (talk) 11:57, 9 September 2014 (UTC)
Well, it's good that there's no explicit rule as we should allow ourselves all necessary freedom, but it is indeed implicit to the main function of the lead: to provide a short abstract understandable to the casual reader.--MWAK (talk) 07:52, 10 September 2014 (UTC)